Kolkata Knight Riders 159 for 6 (Russell 66, Pathan 28*, Sandeep 4-25) beat Kings XI Punjab 155 for 9 (Bailey 60, Maxwell 33, Umesh 3-33, Narine 1-17)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kings XI Punjab pacer Sandeep Sharma's controlled, incisive spell with the new ball had threatened to make a chase of 156 insurmountable for Kolkata Knight Riders, before Andre Russell's blunt-force innings took the defending champions to their second win of IPL 2015 after three games. Kings XI, meanwhile, have three losses from four games.
The victory margin of four wickets with a little more than two overs to spare may suggest a stroll, but that was hardly how things proceeded in the first half of Knight Riders' chase, when Sandeep had reduced them to 60 for 5.
He pinned Robin Uthappa lbw for 13 in the third over. In his next over, Manish Pandey chipped a catch straight to midwicket. Thisara Perera got the wicket of Suryakumar Yadav in the seventh over, and Sandeep returned with a double-wicket maiden that accounted for Gautam Gambhir and Ryan ten Doeschate. Within six balls, Knight Riders had slipped from 60 for 2 to 60 for 5. He got movement into and away from the batsmen and stuck resolutely to lengths.
There was a pattern to Knight Riders' innings - the impressive cast of big-hitters would take guard, smash a couple of boundaries and then walk back. While the wickets left them in a bind, the boundaries meant that Russell and Yusuf Pathan never faced an overtly steep asking rate.
Russell settled in with a couple of swipes, but Knight Riders' final tilt at the target was set in motion in the 13th over, when Russell took 19 runs off Axar Patel, hacking two fours and a six off the first three balls. His brutal fluency at the crease allowed Yusuf Pathan the luxury of a slow start before he, too, managed to find boundaries. Their 95-run partnership, which lasted almost 10 overs, was broken only when the scores were tied.
Kings XI were stifled right from the start of their innings, after being put in. The top order of M Vijay, Virender Sehwag and Wriddhiman Saha struggled but the brisk stand between George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell provided some hope of a challenging total. The pair added 63 for the fourth wicket, with Maxwell looking promising after getting a reprieve on 13, but their chances of a massive total petered out quickly once he was dismissed.
The second half of Kings XI's innings sputtered along largely on Bailey's efforts even as wickets fell rapidly at the other end. The Kings XI captain - by far their best batsman this season - stitched together a calm 60 off 45 before his dismissal in the last over of the innings. In a steady bowling performance, Sunil Narine had returns of 4-0-17-1, his first wicket in the IPL with a remodeled action.